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Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month

Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month

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Written by Eric Ho, Edited by Katherine Ku


What Does AAPI Mean?

Why are there so many letters? Well, being Asian American and Pacific Islander are two different things. Asian Americans include East Asians, South Asians, and Southeast Asians. Pacific Islanders include native Hawaiian, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

Our Asian Ascenders Meetups at Sender One LAX and Sender One SNA serve as a place for members and guests alike to climb together, and to discover themselves and connect with one another via culture and climbing. Some yummy Asian treats don’t hurt! Asian Ascenders meet monthly (every 2nd Tuesday at SNA, every 3rd Wednesday at LAX).

Sender One also employs many AAPI staff members in various departments, from route setting all the way to our CEO, Alice Kao (check out this Q&A with her). Let’s get to know our community leaders who lead the Asian Ascenders at LAX (every 2nd Wednesday of the month) as well as some of our staff from our Los Angeles Region!

Meet the Community Leaders

Ashley: LAX Asian Ascenders Meetup Leader

  • I have been climbing for 4 years and a friend who wanted to start a new hobby got me into it.
  • Other interests: Outside of climbing my passions are watching movies and reviewing books.
  • Go-to crag snacks: Almonds and Fairlife protein shakes.
  • Advice to new climbers: Don’t stress about what grade you’re climbing. Everyone is on their own journey and climbers are some of the most encouraging people I’ve met. Don’t be afraid to do climbs way out of your comfort zone. It’s a great way to improve and you might surprise yourself.
  • Why climb at Sender One? Sender One is a great place to climb with a strong sense of community. I’ve made so many friends here and am constantly surrounded by people that are always there to support me.

Brittany: LAX Asian Ascenders Meetup Leader

  • When I'm not climbing there is a very high chance that I'm reading a book, singing, or working out. I'm very passionate about those things as well.
  • Go-to crag snacks: Definitely almonds, dried mangos, and coconut chips. Simple and tasty.
  • Advice to new climbers: Don't compare yourself to climbers around you! No one is judging where you are in your climbing journey, so work on perfecting that V0 and don't be afraid to try climbs that you might not be able to send right away. You'll learn so much more that way!
  • What does it mean to host the monthly Asian Ascenders/AC2 meetups? I was lucky enough to get to guest host a few Asian Ascenders meetings after a wonderful, supportive family had already been established. It was empowering to be able to step in and lead an event dedicated to creating a safe space for people in my community to feel supported.

Meet the Staff!

Eric: LAX Brand Supervisor

  • I’ve been climbing for about 10 years. I got into it because I was looking for a social group and found a climbing group on that climbed at Hangar 18 South Bay. I ended up excelling at the sport because I was very light and skinny; also, because I started climbing 3 times a week.
  • Favorite crag: Red Rocks. The beautiful sand is very soft and gentle on my tips.
  • Go-to crag snacks: cucumber and hummus are very tasty on the lips
  • I started Asian Ascenders after my event, Mid-Autumn Festival was a resounding success. I had already started Send With Pride, so AA just made logical sense. I’m so proud to see the Asian Ascenders and my other meetups grow with new leaders stepping up to take the reigns.

Michelle: LAX Head Coach

  • I’ve been climbing for about 10 years! My husband went to Hangar 18 with a family friend, loved it, and then took me and some other friends to try it out.
  • Favorite Crag: My top three crags are Black Mountain, Bishop, and Squamish. I like all three for the same reason - although they’re popular destinations, I can still climb fun boulders with my friends in relatively isolated locations.
  • Other interests: Outside of climbing, I love running and strength training! Outside of physical activities, I enjoy interior design, fashion, and architecture.
  • Go-to crag snacks: GoMacro bars and peach rings
  • Advice to New Climbers: Have fun, and be patient! It’s tempting to climb 5 or more times a week because climbing is so fun, but that’s an easy way to get injured. Rest and recovery are key to a long and healthy climbing career.
  • Fun fact: I’m a first generation Filipino-American. I’ve never been to the Philippines, but I still have family there and I hope to visit sometime in the future!

Von: Westwood Gym Manager

  • I've been climbing since 2006 as a cheaper substitute for skydiving, a childhood dream of mine.  But when I finally ended up skydiving years later I realized why climbing is more exhilarating!
  • Favorite crag: Red Rocks. Climb gorgeous mountains that's easy on your skin during the day and eat fancy dinners and win a lot of money in Vegas at night.
  • Other interests: Being a fashion Icon. 
  • Go-to crag snacks: I like oranges and grapefruits. I really should eat more fruits but the only time I eat fruit is at the crag.
  • Advice to new climbers: The best day of climbing indoors is 1% the fun of the worst day of climbing outdoors.  Go outside ASAP.
  • Fun fact: I'm the 2007/2008 Yugioh Northwest Regional Champion.

Moe: Playa Vista Customer Experience Specialist

  • I started climbing with a friend during my sophomore year of college, so about five years ago. At first, my friend was very interested and just wanted a buddy, but once we got started, it ended up that I was the one who kept climbing after the semester! I started to make friends with some of the staff, invited my friends to come and climb with me, and enjoyed so much of the people at the gym and so much of the culture involving the types of people that climbing attracted.
  • Go-to crag snack: I love dried mango. I also love trail mix, but last year I just didn’t stop eating it, and so trail mix and I decided to give each other some time and space. Who knows, maybe we’ll start to enjoy each other’s company again soon...
  • Other interests: Outside of climbing, I am an artist. I weave, embroider, sew, knit, and also practice photography. I make some functional textiles like scarves, socks, hats, gloves, mittens, shawls, etc., and dysfunctional ones that are meant to go on a wall. I also love to sing! I've done classical piano and classical flute for a long time, but now I am taking jazz vocal lessons. It’s wonderful learning to sing. Plus, how great is it when you can sing your problems away?
  • Advice to new climbers: Enjoy it! Let yourself be proud of sending a v0. Acknowledge that you did something that made you feel accomplished. You have to let yourself be enormously proud of achieving things no matter how big or small. I know that the moment I start to criticize myself, I stop enjoying it. It becomes more frustrating than fun. It’ll feel like a chore and work. You’re getting a massive workout from it, yes, but if you can enjoy doing it, you’ll want to do it more, and that’s really how you get better at climbing.
  • Fun fact: I did karate for eight years and am a second-degree black belt.

Shuto: LAX Customer Experience Shift Lead

  • I have been climbing on and off for roughly 9 years. My brother invited me to try this "new" sport he had found when he was in college.
  • Favorite crag: There's nothing better than climbing great granite in the woods at Black Mountain. 
  • Go-to crag snacks: Nothing like a PB&J to amp you up for your next climb.
  • Advice to new climbers: Climb, climb, climb (don't forget to rest your fingers though). 
  • Fun fact: When I was ten, I had to have a tooth removed from my hard palate (the roof of my mouth). 
  • Being able to lead the AA meetups is an honor, as it is a place where we could share our passions of Asian culture and share our experiences with the culture. 
Introducing Sender One’s 2023 Spring Line

Introducing Sender One’s 2023 Spring Line

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Written by Devan Roper, Photos by Katherine Ku & Devan Roper

Hey Sender One Fam!

 Our new Spring Line is now LIVE. If you have been to the gym recently, you might have seen our *literally* cool new merch…

Make your OOTD cooler than the temps this spring with our brand new perspectives tank top, chalk bag, hat, and zip-up. The graphic shows volumes being reflected off mountains to encourage seeing not only climbing from different angles, but those around us.

The design was inspired by our theme of the quarter, “Seeing from Others Perspectives,” which also is one of our core values at Sender One. 

Have a little one who you want to rock Sender One swag? Snag one of our perspective youth hoodies and share the message of seeing from others perspectives with the next generation. 

In case you missed it, we recently launched a Cotopaxi line which includes coolers, backpacks, fanny packs, chalk bags, gear totes, and duffle bags.

Keep your drinks and snacks chilled while at the crag with either our 12L or 24L Cotopaxi coolers. These items are a great conversation starter with their unique look. If you're interested in buying any of these items, see your local Sender One today! 

We can't wait to see you all sporting the new merch!

P.S. If you are a new member, you get a one time 20% off discount on any item in the shop!

Staff Highlight: Sending with Dom Barry

Staff Highlight: Sending with Dom Barry

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Written by Khristina Rhead, Edited by Hailey McFelia and Katherine Ku

Dominique Barry – you may have seen him coaching youth climbers at Sender One Playa Vista, making his way up the Torch at LAX, or sport climbing at popular outdoor crag, Malibu Creek. Currently, Dom is not just the Youth Programs Supervisor at Playa Vista, but is also a professional climber supported by well-known brands such as Arc’Teryx, La Sportiva North America, Organic Climbing, Sierra Nevada, and Field Station. 

Born and raised in Southern California, Dom grew up succeeding at multiple sports– surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding, and originally only began climbing out of his involvement with snowboarding when he realized he needed to learn rope systems in order to get into more serious snow terrain. This is when he first went into a climbing gym and tried out bouldering.

Photo Credit: Eric Fallecker

Back in 2018, while living in Lake Tahoe, Dom decided to visit Sender One for the first time; he wanted to visit “Chris Sharma’s gym”, a hero of Dom’s, and a professional climber that invested in Sender One in its early days. A while later, Dom found himself without a home base after leaving Tahoe. 

As luck would have it, Sender One was hiring, and Dom began working as a recreational team coach at the Santa Ana (SNA) location, the first Sender One gym to open in 2013. While at SNA, he transitioned to working in the climbing teams department, first leading the Youth Training Team and then coaching Sender One’s Youth Competition Team. Eventually, Dom transferred to Sender One LAX and led the youth program there as head coach. 

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Dom continued with Sender One as a member of the Crisis Management Team, but eventually, he decided to switch gears, opting to take some time off to travel again. This is when he found himself applying for a life changing experience, HBO’s The Climb, an adventure competition show that “represents the foundations of rock climbing and exploration of the human spirit.” 

As one of the contestants on the show, which is hosted by Chris Sharma and actor/climber Jason Momoa, Dom traveled to Spain and Jordan where he competed against 9 other climbers in bouldering, sport, trad, and speed climbing. Although he ultimately came in 2nd place, he values the time spent on the show. He also said that members of Sender’s leadership team, like Wes Shih, Alice Kao, and Corey Cosby, have been incredibly supportive of him splitting his time between Sender and other professional climbing pursuits. 

"[Climbing has] gone from escape to my method for expressing myself, to now how I pay my bills. It’s a fun way to connect my body to the world around me."

When asked what climbing means to him, he said, “Climbing has had many roles over the years. It’s gone from escape to my method for expressing myself, to now how I pay my bills. It’s a fun way to connect my body to the world around me.” Dom enjoys all types of climbing – sport, bouldering, and trad – but the thing loves most is “try hard climbing”, when it’s all or nothing and he can see what he’s made of. His favorite places to climb are Bishop, CA for bouldering, Rifle, CO or Catalonia, Spain for sport climbing, and Lake Tahoe, CA for trad climbing. 

As someone that’s been climbing, especially at a professional level for a number of years, Dom believes that the climbing industry is amid a shift from the status quo to a new vision. This new vision allows athletes to say “I’m going my way,” and has started to reshape the relationship between brands and their athletes. Companies are increasingly encouraging their athletes to work with them to design pro shoe models based on their own needs and aspirations, similar to what Michael Jordan did with the Air Jordan. Additionally, they are more focused on empowering athletes from marginalized communities than ever before. This all gets him really psyched for the future of the sport, and he’s happy that rock climbing is giving a voice to others that have been silenced in the past. 

Photo Credit: Maria Contreras Coll

However, he does still see issues within the industry. He believes that despite initiatives to bring awareness and exposure to less privileged rock climbers, the price of entry is still “way too high… Unfortunately, there is a race to put up as many gyms as possible without first addressing hey, who can actually access this.”

"Diversity shows others what is possible. Oftentimes, if you don’t see yourself in a certain space, you believe you’re not supposed to be there, which couldn’t be further from the truth. "

Pro Climber, Maureen Beck, belays another climber during Global Climbing Day.

Photo credit: Eric Fallecker

In the same vein, when asked why diversity in climbing is important, Dom said he never saw anyone that looked like him actually participating in the sport as an athlete, but rather only in other roles, mentioning legendary action sport commentator Selema Masekela. “Diversity shows others what is possible. Oftentimes, if you don’t see yourself in a certain space, you believe you’re not supposed to be there, which couldn’t be further from the truth. In some cases it can be seen as life or death if someone doesn’t have [a sport as an] outlet, and all they have is exposure to something that’s detrimental to their well-being.” 

Thank you, Dom, for being willing to be interviewed! You’re a great coach, fellow employee, and member of the Sender One community overall. We’re lucky to have you! We can’t wait to see what you accomplish in the future both within and outside of the climbing community. 

To see what Dom is up to currently, follow him on Instagram @the_dommylama

Indigenous People’s Month

Indigenous People’s Month

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Written by Kadisha Aburub

Picture this: you and your friends plan a bouldering trip to Joshua Tree and are eager to explore all the areas you have yet to visit. It is easy to forget that public lands were created through dispossession of millions of Indigenous people. As a reminder, we are on stolen land.

Joshua Tree National Park is an otherworldly desert destination that climbers, hikers, and sight-seers come to set eyes on its beautiful boulders, landscape, and "spiky" trees. Since time immemorial, the Oasis of Mara (known as present-day Joshua Tree National Park) sustained Native American tribes including Cahuilla, Chemehuevi, Serrano people, as well as the ancient Pinto culture.  

As Indigenous People's month is celebrated throughout the states we thought we'd take the time to realign our connection to the land from one of dominance to one of reciprocity. When we hike, climb, or backpack let us be intentional in how we do so.

Steps to take before/during your climbing trip:

 While you're on your climbing/hiking trip there are ways you can ensure you are being mindful of Indigenous culture, practices, and land. (This is by no means a comprehensive list and doing specific research on your local crags/areas is highly recommended before recreating outdoors.)

1Is the area/crag sacred to Indigenous communities? If so, reach out to Indigenous leaders and/or conservation professionals who are aware of whether or not sharing specific geographic areas will negatively impact the area.
👉WHY? Many of these areas do not have proper protection in place to handle a large amount of visitors.

2Honor spaces that are specifically closed for Indigenous purposes. If you peruse through your Joshua Tree Bouldering Book or Black Mountain Bouldering book you'll find that there are crag areas that are completely closed to climbing/hiking. Respect these closures.

Timeline of closure

3. Understand that cultural sites/formations/structures are still used in traditional ceremonial practices todayAvoid touching or damaging rock art.

4. Stay on marked trails.

5. First Ascents and exploration are NOT more important than cultural resources.

6. Understand that Indigenous communities exist in the present-day in various outdoor/urban areas.

8Take time to understand Indigenous communities that are currently and have previously resided in that area.

Source: @indigenousfieldguide. You can sign their pledge here.

How to support Indigenous communities this month and every month:

1. Do your research before going outdoors: an awesome all-around resource is the organization @indigenousfieldguide they provide public education on accessing the outdoors through an Indigenous lens.

2. Connect with a land advisor: connect with Indigenous guides and advisors to help you navigate how to ethically recreate outdoors.

3. Support Indigenous Brands/organizations: @nativesoutdoors, @indigenouswomxnart, @indigenousfieldguide @queernature @indigenouswomenhike @wildernesssociety

4. Educate yourself. Here are some starting points: Which Indigenous lands are you on?Books written by Indigenous authorsNative American Art in Joshua TreeOrganization that is dedicated to conserving land in Twenty-Nine Palms,

'As Long As Grass Grows' by Dina Gilo-Whitaker

Join us for Monday Night Meetup Nov 21st:

To show our support we will be hosting a raffle at Monday Night Meetup on November 21st in support of Native Women's Wilderness Fundraiser. For every dollar donated by Sender One members, they'll be entered to win an Edelrid Boa Eco 9.8mm 60m rope! You can participate at any of the Sender One locations. 

Where to find more information about the organization: 

Where to donate to Native Women's Wilderness: 

Sign up for the event @ SNA here, LAX here, or Playa Vista here!

Take home:

When we advocate for public lands let us also advocate for the Native people who still feel the impact of 1492. People and land are inherently valuable and non-exploitable. When we evaluate our impact on the land and Indigenous communities we acknowledge that earth is not a commodity but a partner to us that we need to respect and give as much as we take.

Sender One Westwood Update

Sender One Westwood Update

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An update on the Sender One Westwood bouldering gym

We’re excited to announce that after 2 years of delays from COVID and city permitting, construction on our Westwood bouldering gym is finally underway. Just as UCLA students are returning to campus this fall, we’re making progress on turning the Mann Festival Theatre, which closed back in 2009, into a beautiful climbing gym. 

Sender One Westwood will feature 10,000 square feet of climbing, yoga, and fitness. This space will even include an upstairs mezzanine dedicated to climbing-specific training, including equipment like adjustable training boards.  

Progress in building up this gym is especially meaningful, as our CEO and co-founder Alice Kao (UCLA ‘01) fondly remembers watching movies at the Mann Festival Theatre during her time as a student. With these nostalgic memories, her excitement for the new gym opening is mixed with some sadness in seeing the historic theatre go. 

We are so proud and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of the growth of Westwood Village while building up the future of rock climbing as a community and as a sport. Follow along for more updates via our website and social media platforms. For more information and Sender One Westwood, visit this article from the UCLA newsroom and this blog post!

Sender One Westwood at Night

Mini update on new Sender One locations… 

In other news, Sender One Lakewood is about to go into permitting! We hope to start raising the roof early next year with an expected opening in late 2023. In the meantime, Sender One Huntington Beach is still slated to open in 2024. Thank you for being a part of our community and growing with us! 

National Yoga Month 2022

National Yoga Month 2022

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Join Sender One in celebrating National Yoga Month!

Yoga originated thousands of years ago and has grown to be widely practiced all over the world. In 2008, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (N.C.C.I.H.) designated September as National Yoga Awareness month to highlight the many physical and mental benefits of yoga. From increased flexibility to stress relief to improved heart health, yoga's benefits are too many to count!

Yoga is also for everyone! Many types of yoga are practiced today and are available here at Sender One. Whether you're into a low-key Yin class, or balancing a friend on your feet in Acro Yoga, there's a yoga offering that fits your speed.

To celebrate the joys and benefits of yoga, we are excited to announce this year's National Yoga Month Challenge! Throughout this month, take as many Sender One yoga and fitness classes as you can for a chance to win some awesome prizes!

To start, you'll earn a free guest pass for every 5 classes you take! Take ten? Two passes!

For our top yogis, the prizes get even cooler:

First place winners at SNA and LAX will receive a 1 month free membership and mug. Second place winners will receive a Manduka mat and mug. Third through fifth place winners will each receive a Sender One mug.

September's truly the month to discover what a new yoga routine could do for your life. See you in the yoga studio soon!



Check out some of our yoga and fitness offerings!

Stretch for Climbers

Sender One SNA | Wednesdays | 7:15PM - 8PM - Sign up here!

Sender One LAX | Tuesdays | 6PM - 7PM - Sign up here!

Mobility is one of the keys to peak climbing performance, and stretching can aid in recovery and injury prevention for climbers of all levels. Whether you’re trying to climb your hardest or just take good care of your body, this class is for you.

Aerials at Sender One SNA!

Looking for a challenge? Aerial acrobatics is a great complement to your climbing practice, helping to develop grip, upper-body strength, endurance, and flexibility.

These classes are capable of providing anyone with a perfectly-suited aerial experience, whether you are new or a seasoned aerialist wanting to develop your movement vocabulary.

For more information and to sign up, click here!

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